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Can Ducks Eat Popcorn? What You Need to Know!

Nicole Cosgrove

June 30, 2021

Ducks can inhabit and body of fresh water in North America, and will even invade swimming pools on occasion. If you happen to see ducks frequently, it’s common to wonder what you should feed them.

Popcorn is an inexpensive and lightweight food that you can keep with you, but is it safe to give ducks? While ducks technically can eat popcorn, they shouldn’t.

Keep reading while we look at the nutritional value and health concerns of feeding ducks popcorn. We’ll even discuss some alternatives you can try to help create a safer environment for these birds.chicken feet divider

Is Popcorn Bad For Ducks?

  • Butter, Salt, Chemicals, Oil

Any commercial popcorn that comes prepackaged is going to have too much salt to feed a duck. Manufacturers usually pop the corn in oil—which makes it high in fat—before they add butter, which adds more fat and salt. The packaging also usually contains preservatives as well as artificial colors, which can cause allergic reactions in some ducks. Air-popped corn that you make at home will not have these added ingredients.

  • No Nutritional Value

Popcorn has almost no nutritional value and is only empty calories in the form of carbohydrates. Eating a diet high in popcorn could cause ducks to do less foraging, leading to a deficiency in the nutrients they need to stay healthy.

  • Digestive Issues

Since popcorn is not part of a duck’s natural diet, it makes sense that they can’t digest it. Ducks can begin to act strange and may refuse to eat again for several days after consuming popcorn, so it’s best to avoid it.

  • Fecal Issues

Since the ducks cannot properly digest the popcorn, it’s reasonable to believe that it will also be difficult to excrete. Popcorn can cause constipation and impaction, and the sharp kernels can cause bruising.

  • Hard to Swallow

If you have eaten a lot of popcorn, you know that kernels can often get stuck to the back of your throat. Ducks have a very sensitive esophagus, and it’s also very long, so these kernels can easily become stuck, causing discomfort for the duck. The stuck kernels can also cause the duck to quack louder than usual.

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Is Popcorn Good For Ducks?

Unfortunately, there is no benefit to eating popcorn for ducks. If a duck ate some by accident, it would probably be fine, but you shouldn’t give it to them regularly.

How Can I Feed Popcorn To Ducks?

As we mentioned earlier, it’s best to avoid feeding your duck popcorn, but there are several foods that you can feed instead.

Here is a short list to get you started:
mallard-being-feed-by-hand_Smiler99_shutterstock
Image Credit: Smiler99, Shutterstock

Foods You Should Not Feed Your Duck

Here is a shortlist of other foods you should avoid feeding your ducks to keep them healthy
  • Salty Foods

You should avoid salty foods like potato chips, peanuts, trail mix, and other foods with high sodium content.

Citrus fruit can affect a duck’s ability to absorb calcium, making her less likely to lay eggs.

  • Spinach

Spinach is another food that will affect a duck’s ability to absorb calcium, so you should avoid feeding it.

  • Potatoes

Potatoes can be poisonous to ducks, however, sweet potatoes are alright as an occasional treat.

  • Sweets

Sweets can be dangerous for ducks, especially chocolate, and many sweets contain artificial sweeteners that can be deadly.

  • Onions

Ducks cannot eat onions because they contain thiosulfate, a chemical that kills red blood cells.

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Summary

We hope you have enjoyed reading over this guide, and it has helped answer your questions. We recommend avoiding giving your ducks popcorn and instead opting for one of the other options we have listed here like bananas or hard boiled eggs, which will help them get some high-quality protein and calcium. If we have helped expand the diet of your bird, please share this guide on whether you should feed ducks popcorn on Facebook and Twitter.

Nicole Cosgrove

Nicole is the proud mom of Baby, a Burmese cat and Rosa, a New Zealand Huntaway. A Canadian expat, Nicole now lives on a lush forest property with her Kiwi husband in New Zealand. She has a strong love for all animals of all shapes and sizes (and particularly loves a good interspecies friendship) and wants to share her animal knowledge and other experts' knowledge with pet lovers across the globe.